By Congressman Henry Cuellar
Today, almost 21 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. In South Texas, especially among Hispanics, diabetes is an urgent health problem threatening the health of nearly 10% of Hispanic Americans aged 20 years and older and their families. Of the millions of persons affected, less than one third know that they have the disease. We need to have more diabetes awareness, prevention, and treatment options available in minority communities.
It is important to convey the message that diabetes is a serious disease and that people must protect themselves from developing it or seek treatment for an existing condition. Being part of this high risk group and as a strong proponent of health care legislation, I am pleased to have recently co-sponsored HR 5225, the new Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act.
HR 5225 would require the Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) to coordinate and support research regarding diabetes in minority populations where the disease is most common. It will also require the NIH to support treatment programs among high-risk demographics.
I believe this legislation is an integral part of efforts to improve the quality of life for all Americans by making quality healthcare available, accessible and affordable. Every senior, child, and adult in our country deserves affordable and accessible health care. In order to treat and prevent diseases such as diabetes, it is imperative that we continue to push for education and awareness programs designed to address the issues and challenges faced by minority groups seeking medical care. The closer we are to providing equal access to treatment and preventative services the closer we are to achieving a healthy vibrant society.
As your Congressman, I will continue to serve as a link between the local communities and the federal government as we work to address the fundamental health concerns that surround us daily. As always, I am deeply concerned about health care issues, and I will continue to support all legislation that improves the quality of life for all Americans. The Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act is a step in the right direct and I will continue fighting to make it law.